Fur-ever Friends

Oh, pets! Many have or have had a pet. They’re like caring for another human. Aren’t they the best … sometimes?  The impact of pets on our health is astounding. Talk about paw therapy.

Growing up, I had many animals – from farm animals like goats to house animals like dogs. No matter where we lived, we had to have a variety of animals to fill our hearts. Though they were so much work, we knew the bigger the animal, the more care and harder the task. We lived our best moments with our animals and the worst when they were gone.

The last time I had a pet, I was 11 years old. This is because I lost my dog that year, and my parents decided the loss of my favorite dog was too harsh on me. My dog’s name was Cindy, and she was what I called my daughter – how could it not destroy me? She protected me; she loved and followed me no matter where I went. If she could not come, I wasn’t going. After that horrible experience, I told myself I wouldn’t have animals until I had my own home and it could freely live. Which recently happened without my even expecting it.

We had adopted what we thought would be an all-black Shih-poo for my nephew who had expressed how badly he wanted a dog. Upon having him for two days, my nephew decided the dog was too much work for him and wanted to see if he could find a better home for the dog. My sister asked if I could keep him in the meantime, which I was very hesitant of because I tend to get emotionally attached with anything, but I agreed. They searched for a couple of days, and fast-forward to two years later, he is now a smoky gray, very light in color, and is still at my home – not because he’s still looking for a home, but because he won my heart and put zero effort into trying to win us over. I will never forget his first night as he cried all night until I let him sleep with my daughter. Now he is a well-trained dog with many tricks up his sleeve.

I think about it now, and I can’t imagine life without him, or any animal for that matter. Though we seldom stop and think of it, they make this world better. They’re there when no one else is to make you smile, laugh, cry and cuddle. They mentally heal you and encourage walks sometimes, which helps us more than we think. So let’s hug our babies extra tight today and remind them how much we love them, maybe throw in a treat or two!

Did you know? At Health Alliance Northwest™, we’re paws-itively excited about the joy our furry friends bring! The impact of pets on our health is astounding! Studies show that having pets can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve mental well-being. Our furry friends aren’t just companions; they’re healers, too.

Olga Hernandez, Yakima, WA – Olga Hernandez is a community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. Born and raised in the Yakima Valley, she enjoys fishing alongside her husband and three wonderful children, as well as traveling to at least one new place every year.

Like this article? Let us know by responding to Outreach@HealthAlliance.org. Thanks for reading!